The Irony of Life

My job allows me to telecommute for work from home for the last eight years. There were many days where Russ would be sitting along aside with me in the office. He would always be hunkering over on his laptop either researching his latest quench for knowledge or answering questions about the TW200. Sometimes, he would get so excited about what he was reading about, he would abruptly look up and give me the “Cliff Notes” version of it.

I got to hear about many interesting stories and tidbits. Some were about the local history in our area and others were about motorcycles that were odds or unusual. Then there were some about people that he admired. Some of those stories, I wished that I had recorded them. Some, I wished that he got to fulfill his dreams of doing things or meeting those people he talked about.

The irony of all of the stories I have heard all those years is that I’m the one who getting to meet his idols. I’m living out his dreams.

Actually, the first one I got to meet was a missed opportunity for Russ. Remember, in the beginning, I told the story about how Russ and I gotten the adventure traveling bug after attending the Horizon Unlimited event in Cambria, CA right before he got sick. At that event, one of Russ’ idol, Craig Vetter was supposed to speak at the event but had to cancel due to back surgery. I got to meet him at the same event the following year. Craig Vetter is known for his Vetter Fairing Company which created aftermarket motorcycle fairings back in the 70’s. However, it is the fairing that intrigued Russ but it was the Vetter Streamliner that got him hooked. These bikes looks like a cross over between a motorcycle and a scooter.

The next one I got to meet, I didn’t even realize until way later after I met him that it was one that Russ has communicated with and was hoping to figure out a way to join him on his crazy motorcycle adventure. His name is Ed March, who is embarking on an adventure to various places in the world on a C90. He believes that you don’t have to buy the big expensive BMW GS1200 in order to travel around the world. In addition, his true passion is making people laugh. So as a way to making people, he has posted several YouTube showing you his misadventures while traveling. I had heard of Ed and had followed along his journey. I even met him last year at the Overland Expo where I bought his DVD about his journey from Malaysia to UK on a C90. After watching the movie, it dawned on me, it was the same guy that Russ wanted to go on a C90 adventure with. He even had a C90 in his collection of the 30 motorcycles that I had to sell after his death.

The most recent one was when I was in Birmingham, Alabama working at the division office of my company and looking for things to do while in town. I discovered that the home of the Confederate Motorcycle was here. The first time Russ has heard about this bike was when we rode our TW200 to the Rock Store on Mulholland Drive. The Rock Store is one of the famous motorcycles and bikers hangout in California. This is where I had my picture taken with Jay Leno next to my TW200. As usual, Russ learned everything he could about this bike. These bikes are the Neiman Marcus Christmas catalog of exotic street bike. Again, the reason Russ was obsessed with them because they went against the grain of the standard in the motorcycle industry.

I was lucky enough to get a private tour by Lee during my lunch hour. The best hour of my week in Alabama. As you can see, Russ loved anything was unusual and quirky.  I got see things through his eyes.

The event itself…

As you may remember from last week, I finally made it to the Mariposa Fairground where the Horizon Unlimited California event is being held.

The Horizon Unlimited event is the premier overland event for motorcyclist.  It a 3 days event packed with educational classes, demonstrations, and travel presentations from the around the world.  It has been inspiring, informing and connecting overland travelers since 1997.  It was started by Grant and Susan Johnson.  They have traveled around the world visiting 39 countries and putting 62,000 miles on their motorcycle.  This spanned over 14 years and they show no sign of slowing down.

While at the event, I got see old friends again and made new friends.  However, one of the highlight for me was meeting my late husband’s idol, Craig Vetter.  At first, I was a bit hesitant to be one of those crazy fans asking for an autograph but I just had to do it in honor of him.  After I got a picture with him, he started talking about the economics of his motorcycle design for the Vetter Streamliner and his plan to build an electric version; he finally glanced over my way and apologized for rambling and going over my head about it.  I started to laugh and explained how he was my husband’s idol and already heard all about it.

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One of my favorite sessions at the event is the women’s only session, where we get to talk about personal hygiene while on the road.  The biggest topic was natural remedies for minor ailments since you may not have access to a pharmacy while on the roads.  Here are a few suggestions:

  • Lemon Eucalyptus oil can be used as mosquito repellents
  • Peppermint oil can be used to soothe an upset stomach or to aid digestion.
  • Apple Cider Vinegar can be used to get rid of nausea
  • A mixture of water and cornstarch can be use to aid diarrhea.

There were two other sessions that I learned a lot from.  One was the Electrical accessory wiring 101 classes where you learn how to add electronics to your bike without setting it on fire.  This is the biggest challenge for my trip next year since the little T-dub’s stator cannot be upgraded to handle the added accessories such as the heated grip, heated vest or the GPS.  I originally came up with the idea of having two batteries on the bike; one for the bike and the other one for the accessories.  However after talking to Erik Stephens of Twisted Throttle after the class, we came up with other ideas.  Such as replacing the headlight which put out 55 watts to an LED light which can range from 10 to 20 watts and adding an auxiliary light for the high beams that is on a kill switch so it doesn’t draw so much power.  There are other ideas that we still need to hash out.  At least now I have hope that I can add the needed accessories to the bike.

The second informative class I took was the Motorcycle Recovery Systems given by Bill Ellison.  Here we learned how to create a 2 to 1 ratio pulley system to haul a bike up from the side of the hill.  We also learned how to make a Prusik knot which is used as a friction hitch or device that can grab a rope.  He suggested the following items to keep on hand in case in an emergency:

  • 8 ml static rope (75 ft) and rope bag to store it in so it doesn’t get tangled.
  • 4 medium size locking carabiner
  • 3 small size pulley


All in all, I had a wonderful time at the event and only once I got a bit nostalgic about missing my late husband which I handled well by stepping and find a quiet place and wrote in my journal.  Now I hold a special place in my heart to all of the friends I made through this community.  I also wish “The Adventure Trios” a safe journey on their 18 months trip to South America and to Danell Lynn a safe journey on her one year all 50 states trip around United States.